Motherwell took all three vital points away to Kilmarnock despite being reduced to nine men.
Jim Paterson scored against Kilmarnock
Richie Foran's right foot strike from just inside the box and Jim Paterson's deflected effort gave Motherwell an early two-goal advantage.
Stephen Naismith pulled one back for Kilmarnock from 25 yards.
Well's Jim Paterson was sent off for time-wasting before team-mate David Clarkson and Killie's Garry Hay were dismissed for violent conduct.
It was a controversial and undignified end to a game that was hugely entertaining to a crowd of just 5,000 at Rugby Park.
Kilmarnock kept faith with the same side that defeated Inverness last week with Colin Nish and Paul Di Giacomo starting up front.
But the home side suffered an early blow when Di Giacomo was replaced with Gary Wales after suffering a serious facial injury caused by an accidental clash with Stephen Craigan's boot.
Motherwell showed little sympathy and took the lead in the 15th minute when Foran drilled a right-foot effort into the net after excellent work by Scott McDonald.
The visitors doubled their lead three minutes later, when Paterson's deflected effort went past Graeme Smith.
Well looked the more purposeful and carried that extra attacking threat, but it was Killie who scored the third goal of the match.
Naismith's brilliant 25-yard strike meant his side went into half-time only one goal behind.
The home side came out for the second 45 looking for the equaliser and were given a boost when Paterson was sent off by referee Brian Winter for delaying the taking of a throw.
The defender had been booked in the 13th minute for unsporting behaviour.
Kilmarnock failed to take advantage of the numerical supremacy and only had a tame Allan Johnston strike to show for their efforts.
And the game ended in chaos when Hay was sent off in time added on for raising his hands at Clarkson, who was then also sent off for his reaction to the Killie captain.
Kilmarnock: Smith, Grant Murray, Greer, Frazer Wright (Ford 72), Hay, Naismith, Fowler, Johnston, Invincibile (Stephen Murray 73), Nish, Di Giacomo (Wales 4).
Subs Not Used: Combe, Dodds, Adams, Campbell.
Sent Off: Hay (90). Booked: Grant Murray.
Goal: Naismith 38.
Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Corrigan, Craigan, Reynolds, Paterson, Kerr, Darren Lee Smith (McGarry 67), Fitzpatrick, Foran, McDonald (Clarkson 80), Elliot (McBride 60).
Subs Not Used: Martin, Kinniburgh, Quinn, Connolly.
Sent Off: Paterson (56), Clarkson (90). Booked: Paterson, Foran, McDonald.
Goals: Foran 15, Paterson 20.
Ref: B Winter